Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
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The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Esinburgh, May 21, 1812.
I. Sess. 1, May 21, 1812.—The King's Commission to Francis Lord Napier produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 21, 1812.—The Prince Regent's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, Presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 23, 1812.—The General Assembly's Answer to the Prince Regent's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 3, May 23, 1812.—Address of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to his Royal Highness George Prince of Wales, Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
May it please your Royal Highness,
We, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, met in General Assembly, beg leave to approach the throne with expressions of the most sincere affection and respect for your Royal Highness.
We sincerely sympathise with your Royal Highness on account of the continued and severe malady with which it has pleased God to visit your Royal Father, our most gracious Sovereign. We were justly attached to his person, revered his virtues, and were happy under his government. The more afflicting now is our grief for the secerity of his indisposition, and the loss which we sustain. On this occasion, as in other calamities, this is our consolation, that the Great Ruler of the world arranges and conducts all events with infinite wisdom, rectitude, and goodness.
It has been no small alleviation of this great calamity, that your Royal Highness came forward, at the desire of the nation, to preside in the empire, and administer its affairs. The promptitude and energy, the prudence and the mildness, with which you have hitherto acted, the warm interest which you have taken in the welfare of the State, and the uniform regard which you have shown to its admirable constitution and laws, all assure us of the continued maintenance of our invaluable rights and privileges, civil and sacred.
We deeply lament the calamities of war, and that inordinate and insatiable ambition of the enemy, which precludes the near prospect of a safe and homourable peace. Yet, amidst all the dangers which have threatened us, and the hardships under which we have laboured, we will remember with gratitude, that Providence has continued to protect and prosper us. Our resources for maintaining the arduous and protracted conflict have never failed. The arms of our country, by sea and land, have been so successful, as to deprive the enemy of all his colonies and foreign commerce. Brilliant achievements in the Peninsula have thrown an additional lustre on the British name. Neighbouring nations have already caught a portion of our spirit, and we trust that this may diffuse itself over other kingdoms, now unhappily subjected to the enemy. They may yet rally around us, assert their own independence, and aid us in humbling the common foe, and in securing for ourselves, and for the world, the invaluable blessings of peace.
We deplore those acts of insubordination and licentiousness, of riot and outrage, which have lately disgraced some parts of the United Kingdom; and we particularly lament the fall, by assassination, of a statesman, distinguished no less for his virtues than for his talents. We mourn the loss which his family and his country sustain by his untimely death; and deeply regret that a crime so atrocions could have been perpetrated by any individual in this favoured and enlightened country. Aggravated, however, as it is, we have some consolation in thinking, that the criminal was instigated, not by any connection with other men, but by personal malice only.
We beg leave to assure your Royal Highness, that no spirit of insubordination has appeared in this part of the empire; and that, as far as in us lies, we will exert ourselves in maintaining loyalty and subjection to the laws. For this purpose, we will employ all our personal influence, as well as the faithful and assiduous discharge of our ministerial duties. We will inculcate on our people, old and young, the doctrines of our holy religion, and endeavour, with the aid of Divine grace, to fix deeply in their hearts those principles of morality, derived from the Gospel, which are powerful to regulated the conduct of men, to bring them under due subjection, and to preserve order and peace.
That the God of all power and grace may bless your Royal Highness, and establish
the dominion of his Majesty, under your direction, in the affection and loyalty of his
subjects; that Princes of your illustrious house, to the latest posterity, may sway the
British sceptre; and that, after a long and happy life on earth, you may obtain at last
eternal salvation and happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. These are the fervent prayers of,
May it please your Royal Highness, his Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
V. Sess. 9, May 30, 1812.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VI. Sess. 9, May 30, 1812.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty to that end.
VII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1812.—Interim Act and Overture respecting the Licensing of Probationers.
VIII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1812.—Overture anent the Ordination of Elders.
IX. Sess. ult., June 1, 1812.—Recommendation anent the Public Reading of the Scriptures.
The General Assembly proceeded to consider the overture from the Presbytery of Aberdeen respecting the public reading of the Scriptures, and the General Assembly approving of the spirit of the overture, and learning from thence, with much satisfaction, that the practice of reading the Word in the congregation, which is recognised by the Directory as part of the public worship of God, was revived by the recommendation of the Synod of Aberdeen, and is now generally adopted within the bounds of that Synod, (being convinced that it would conduce to the edification of the people, and to their better acquaintance with the Scriptures, if this practice were more generally followed,) do hereby recommend to all the ministers of this Church, according to their discretion, to read at one of the meetings for public worship such portion of the Old or New Testament, or of both, as they may judge expedient. The Assembly at the same time declare, that they do not mean that this recommendation shall in any degree supersede the exercise of lecturing, which they enjoin to be observed throughout this Church, in conformity to the Acts of Assembly, 1694, and 1704, as a most important branch of the public ministrations of pastors and teachers.